Category Archives: Record collecting

Record Cover Collecting Gone Crazy.

Earlier in 2017, Mark Satlof got his 15 minutes of fame when it was revealed that he had collected 800 copies of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s self-titled debut album. Apparently his collection (as everyone else’s) started with a single copy, but his was signed by Lou Reed. I wonder if he actually NEEDS all 800 copies.

vunderground-19_custom-9542883bf188ce2d6a81f7d56df637b3346f0f6d-s500-c85
Mark Satlof who has collected about 800 copies of the Velvet Underground & Nico album.

Then there is Rutherford Chang who collects The Beatles’ White Album. He boasts that when the article was published he had 1,845 copies of the numbered first edition which he has exhibited in Liverpool. He still buys copies in any condition and will pay up to USD 20 for each.

rutherford-chang
Rutherford Chang with just some of the 1800+ copies of the Beatles’ White Album that he has collected.

So, that is one kind of cover collecting madness. There are others; like the chap who was prepared to fork out USD 790,000 for Ringo Starr’s personal copy of The Beatles (the White album) with number 0000001. This was named the most expensive record of all time but it obviously ain’t. In 2017 Martin Shkreli’s purchase of The Wu Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” double CD (Okay, I’ll grant that this was a CD not a RECORD”) but only a single copy was pressed (with an embargo that it could not be released commercially until 2103). Shkreli has since sold it on Ebay for USD 1,025,100 after 343 bids. I suppose he can get a tax allowance on his nearly USD 750,000 loss!

Shaolin Ebay
Martin Shkreli’s sale of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time” in Shaolin CD.

But there are good reasons for owning several copies of the same record. Some collectors might want bot the stereo and mono releases, others may collect a record that has different covers–such as the six variations of the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In Through the Out Door”, while others might want various coloured vinyl releases. In some cases a record is reissued at various times in remastered form or in a different cover and these may also be collectible.

My personal madness has extended to the various releases of The Velvet Underground & Nico–an album I first bought in 1967, unfortunately even then with the airbrushed rear cover photo. Despite its poor initial sales–said to have totalled 30,000 copies in its first five years of existence–the album has seemingly never been out of print, and has had various cover designs and several varieties of coloured vinyl. I haven’t yet got anywhere near 800 copies, but have sixteen at the last count, ranging from my own 1967 original  copy, a torso cover, and the cover with the black sticker covering the torso as well as various later editions, including two picture discs and three versions of the Scepter Studios acetate recording. I bought both the 45th and 50th anniversary reissues (both the black and the pink vinyl versions of the latter). But, I still don’t have a mono copy on vinyl.

Another album I have many copies of is a recent release by Henrik Berggren. His debut solo album “Wolf’s Heart” was released on both CD and vinyl with six colour vinyl versions in addition to the standard black vinyl. Obviously I HAD to have all seven versions and so I managed to find them all. I thought they might be a good investment, but it transpires that one can still find all the various coloured vinyls.

I have four copies of The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” albums. There are different zips on the U.K. and German versions of “Sticky Fingers”and the U.S. version has the title placed differently from the European versions. I am lucky to have copies of both albums autographed by Andy Warhol, too.

Now I have at least three copies each of Miguel Bosé’s “Made in Spain” (two Spanish and a Mexican) and “Milano-Madrid” albums. I’ll be returning to the “made in Spain album in a future post.

Finally, an admission. Sometimes I have bought a record I thought I needed and when I got it home realised I already had it! That’s because I don’t carry complete lists of wanted items with me everywhere, not a sign of impending senility.

 

 

 

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In Search of That Elusive Record Cover.

My collections of artists who have designed record covers seem to grow and grow. There always seems to be another cover to add to them. However, eventually I find that I have got as far as it seems possible to go and my collections just need that one elusive cover that I just cannot find.

My biggest collection is of Andy Warhol’s cover art. I have a broad view of what to include in it and have collected bootlegs, CDs and a few magazine covers, so that I currently have over 200 “Warhol covers”. However, there are still gaps that I suppose I never will fill. The main one is the NBC box set “Night Beat” – a promotional set of three EPs for a 1950s radio show – only one copy of which is known to exist. There is also a Japanese EP of Mendelssohn’s “Scherzo” with Warhol’s drawing of angels on the cover. Again, only a single copy has so far come to light. There are a couple of other albums that it may, one day, be possible to find. I’ll keep you posted on those.

I thought my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers was complete until I was tipped off about a 1983 cover for a recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue/An American In Paris” with a beautiful Blake painting. Luckily that was easy to find. So now I’m only waiting for him to produce his next cover.

I once had a complete collection of Damien Hirst’s record and CD cover designs. However, when I sold my main collection, I wasn’t careful enough to check what went and what stayed, with the result that the promotional booklet for The Hours’ “Ali in the Jungle” with its 3″ CD disappeared along with four of the band’s limited edition 7″ singles. At least I have been able to replace these, but the promo booklet has eluded me.

Again, my collection of Banksy records and CD covers is only missing one very rare item; the promotional 12″ single by The Capoeira Twins. A couple of copies have come up for sale recently, but way over my budget!

I thought that my collection of Klaus Voormann’s record cover art was complete with about seventy-four covers. I was mistaken. Klaus designed a cover for a jazz LP in the early sixties with artwork in the same style as his covers for the Pioneers of Jazz series of EPs on the Coral label.

Voormann 60s cover
The Klaus Voormann’s cover for a German jazz album.

Unfortunately, no one can read the title. Could it be “Wir nie im Bett Programm gemacht”? That’s the nearest I can get to deciphering it. And I have asked Klaus, but he doesn’t remember the artist or the title. I’ve shown the picture to German dealers, but none has seen a copy.

Then I have a collection of record and CD covers featuring supermodel Kate Moss. I got started on collecting Kate Moss covers as I already owned Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12″-ers (both first and second versions) and Damien Hirst’s “Use Money, Cheat Death” single sided 12″ with his portrait of Kate with half her face dissected away. Kate has a musical background having cooperated with Primal Scream on their remake of Lee Hazlewood’s “Some Velvet Morning” and there are two 12″-ers that feature Kate on the covers. And also with Babyshambles while she and Pete Doherty were a couple.

Bryan Ferry used Adam Whitehead’s photos of Kate on his 2010 Olympia album and on the limited edition 12″ singles and remixes taken from the album. However, one single, “Heartache by Numbers” apparently didn’t make it onto vinyl, though I didn’t know this initially and spent some considerable time searching for a copy, obviously without success.

So collectors, it seems that completing one’s collection of a particular artist is well nigh impossible. But it is the unfinished collection that still provides a challenge. Will I ever find these missing covers?

Collecting Andy Warhol’s Record Cover Art. How to Credit Previously Unrecognised covers?

I curated what I thought would be the first exhibition of Andy Warhol’s record covers in Piteå, Sweden, in July 2008 I enlisted the help of fellow collector Guy Minnebach to assemble as complete a collection of record Warhol’s record covers as possible. Only later did I find out that Warhol’s record covers had been shown before-usually as part of other exhibitions of his art, and then only exhibiting a few covers. My intention with the 2008 exhibition was to try to gather together all the covers he designed or illustrated.

Just two months after the exhibition in Piteå closed, the Museum of Art in Montreal, Canada, put on a major exhibition entitled “Warhol Live!” which showed the link between Warhol’s art and music. Many of the record covers shown came from the collection of Paul Maréchal and his book “Andy Warhol – The Record Covers 1949-1987: Catalogue Raisonné” was published to coincide with the “Warhol Live!” exhibition.

Just before the Piteå exhibition, Guy Minnebach had discovered the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” EP and the “Warhol Live!” exhibition showed Paul Maréchal’s newly discovered “Night Beat” box set. Less than a month after the exhibition in Piteå closed, in September 2008, a friend of mine read an interview in a magazine with Tomas Alfredsson, a Swedish musician turned actor, who had been a member of a band called Roland and the Flying Albatros Band (known as RATFAB for short). In the interview he said that the cover of the Band’s second single had been designed by Andy Warhol. Thus started my search for this cover, and I quickly found three copies. The RATFAB single “Det brinner en eld / Mörka ögon” became the first Warhol cover NOT to be included in Maréchal’s 2008 book!

Since then, a number of covers, unrecognised in 2008, illustrated or designed by Andy Warhol have been identified.
1. Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, Volume 2 (LP),
2. Vladimir Horowitz – Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Lizst (LP),
3. Mendelssohn – Wedding March / Scherzo (45 RPM EP)
4. Lew White – Melodic Magic (EP),
5. Erika Morini – Tchaikovsky–Violin Concerto
6. George Gershwin / Edvard Grieg – Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances (LP and EP box),
7. Curiosity Killed the Cat – Misfit / Man (7″ single).

And this list doesn’t include bootlegs or records and CDs that simply appropriated Warhol’s art for their covers. Nor does it include covers after 1987 that simply use or reuse Warhol’s art, such as Paul Anka’s “Amigos” or Skyline’s “Skyline” or even The Silver Apples’ “Fractal Flow / Lovefingers“.

There has been a problem in having new covers suggested to be by Warhol verified. An example is the rear cover drawing on Keely Smith’s 1957 Capitol Records LP “I Wish You Love“. By this date, Warhol was an acclaimed commercial artist and his “dot and blot” technique was being used by other illustrators. Warhol is not known to have worked with Capitol Records on any other projects, so this drawing cannot certainly be accredited to Warhol. There are similar discussions about the Tchaikovsky (No. 5 in the above list) and the Gershwin / Grieg (No. 6 in the list) designs also released in 1957, but these were at least released on the RCA Victor Bluebird label, and Warhol did many designs for RCA and its other subsidiary Camden Records. Maréchal has included the Tchaikovsky, but not the Gershwin / Grieg in the second edition of his book.

There are variations in some of the covers that Maréchal has described. There are various colour variants of the covers illustrated, starting with the first cover in the book, “A Program of Mexican Music” (Columbia Records – ML 2080). Maréchal includes the green cover variant but doesn’t mention the rarer pale blue coloured version. Similarly, there are five colour variations of the “Alexander Nevsky” (Columbia Records – ML 4247)–pale blue and a deeper, almost turquoise, blue that contained the original LP with dark blue labels. The album was re-released in the late fifties with the cover in green, orange and pink. These copies have records with Columbia 6-eye labels. Maréchal includes the green reissue cover, but not the original blue covers. Then there are minor variations such as the various printings of the “Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops” EP. Friend and Warhol expert Guy Minnebach noticed that some copies had the text “A High Fidelity Recording” just beneath the RCA logo in the upper right of the cover. Some had this text in silver and some in green. There is a minor variation in the cover of the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” EP. Some copies have “Printed in U.S.A.” at bottom right while others do not (probably due to the way the slick was cut before being affixed to the cover.)

There are probably more cover designs by Andy Warhol waiting to be identified. A recent case in point is the sister box to NBC’s “Night Beat” entitled “Voices and Events“. As with the designs for the “Progressive Piano” EP set and 10″ LP a lithograph of the “Voices and Events” cover design exists in The Warhol Museum and was shown at the “Adman-Warhol Before Pop” exhibition in Australia early in 2017. It isn’t clear whether The Warhol Museum recognised this to be the design for an EP box set, but when I saw it I immediately saw the similarity to the “Night Beat” design with the dots on three sides. No one knows if the “Voices and Events” box was ever released. I suppose, like the “Night Beat” set, it was intended as a promotional teaser but the radio show it was intended to promote only lasted three episodes… so probably not.

By my reckoning, there are some 55 individual covers that can be attributed to Andy Warhol (I do not count different formats that use the same, or similar, designs), but there is no way that a newly identified cover can be given accreditation, other than being recognised by Paul Maréchal and included in future editions of his “Complete Commissioned Record Covers“.

 

The Beatles–Some Swedish Single and EP Covers.

I used to have a fantastic collection of Beatles records–everything from Mono and Stereo copies of “Please Please Me” LPs with the black and gold Parlophone labels, an autographed copy of “Love Me Do” single and just about every LP and boxes of albums and EPs. I also had a complete set of the HMV boxes of the 1987 CDs. I actually SAW The Beatles live on 24th October 1964 at the Gaumont State Cinema. I still have the “Four Aces” programme from the concert, which cost 1/- (one shilling, for those of you too young to remember pre-decimal currency). However, my Beatles records went when I sold most of my music collection when I moved to Stockholm four years ago. The only Beatles record I kept was my copy of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as a part of my collection of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art, a copy signed by Peter Blake, which I later asked Jann Haworth to also sign (which she gracefully did!)

LoveMeDo_signed45
The signed “Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You” single, which I always said would be my pension insurance.
Sgt Pepper-signed
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover signed by Jann Haworth and Sir Peter Blake.

I can’t say I have missed my Beatles collection, though. The Beatles released 22 singles in the United Kingdom and I had them all both in a singles box and as 3″ CD singles and the complete set of picture disc singles released on the 20th anniversary of each single’s original release.  However, despite living in Sweden, I was never tempted to buy the Beatles’ Swedish singles or EPs.

The Beatles released 32 singles in Sweden between 1963 and 1970. However, the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do/P. S. I Love You“, was never released as a single in Sweden. Today, I was given a pile of nineteen mint covers for Swedish Beatles singles (fourteen different single covers plus four duplicates with slightly different colours) together with four EP covers, one of which is apparently very rare. So I now have fourteen of the 32 single covers (43,75%).

The story behind these is that Daniel Burfitt who owns Nostalgipalatset in Stockholm, to whom I sold my record collection, comes from the town of Strängnäs, where the printers of many of the Swedish record covers were located. Daniel was contacted by the printer a couple of years ago when he was having a clear out and wanted Daniel to buy some old LPs. While looking through them, he was shown a box of unused Beatles single covers, which he bought. He asked the printer why he had kept them for fifty-odd years and was told “Well, The Beatles were special”.

The covers for Swedish singles were generally made of thin paper and were easily worn, dogeared or torn and collectors with records in good condition were, naturally, very interested in these pristine covers to replace damaged ones.

There were 20 Beatles EPs released in Sweden. Among the covers Daniel gave me are four EP covers. These were printed on heavier paper and are laminated. Again all are in mint condition.

So, a nice collection of Fab Four singles and EP covers reminding me of some of the best music of the sixties. What a great gift! Thank you Daniel.

My Collection Has Grown in 2016.

2016 is drawing to a close and it’s time for a summary. It’s been a great year with important additions to all five of my chosen artists’ collections. Perhaps the biggest thrill, however, was being invited to show my collection of record covers by the artist known as Banksy in the major retrospective at Rome’s Palazzo Cipolla in May.

I realized some time ago that collecting all the record covers that five artists have produced would be a full time job and had promised myself that I would not start collecting any additional artists. However, this year I succumbed to temptation and added two more artists to my list of collectible record covers. The first was not really a designer, but an icon. I realized that I already had some of the rarest covers with portraits of Kate Moss and that collecting the ten or so remaining covers might not be too difficult. The second artist I started to collect is Jeff Koons. So far, though, I have only found three covers with his art, so that hasn’t been too taxing.

I’ll take you through the additions to my collection artist by artist.

  1. Banksy: Well. It’s been a poor year for new record covers with Banksy art. However, I did find one by Junichi Masuda, who composes for computer games and is a director at Pokémon. He released an album in 2015 called simply “Pokémon” with a cover that was a pastiche of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” cover
    pokemon_redblue-fr
    There are at least three different variants of this album pressed on coloured vinyl: blue/red swirl, red/white swirl and red/clear swirl. each colour was released in limited editions of 500, 200 and 100, respectively. But, there was also a test pressing released in a limited edition of 100 with a completely different cover:
    JM-Pokemon-fr
    This is a hand-sprayed version of Banksy‘s “Flower Thrower“–but instead of throwing flowers he is about to throw a Pokémon ball. As I mentioned, there were intended to be 100 copies of this cover, but the stencil didn’t last for the whole edition and the last few copies were given a different design:
    Pokemon-Rabbit-TestPressAgain this was based on Banksy‘s “Girl With Balloon” design. Probably less than ten covers had this design. However, I had the “Pokémon” album with the “Sgt Pepper” cover and the “Flower Thrower” cover, so I didn’t think this particularly “Banksy” enough to include in my collection.

    When the invitation to show my Banksy collection in Rome arrived I decided that I had to get the original first pressing of the Paris Hilton CD “Paris“. Luckily two came up on Ebay at prices way below what the CD had been auctioned for just a couple of years ago, so I made what I thought was a cheeky offer and, to my surprise, my offer was accepted. My joy was, however, tempered a couple of weeks later when the other copy sold for less than I had paid. Oh, well. At least the CD could be included in the Rome show.

  2. Sir Peter Blake: It’s been a good year for my Peter Blake collection with some new releases and some older items that I had missed.
    I have already owned up to my obsession with Eric Clapton‘s “24 Nights” recording. Well this year I have really fed it.
    The first additions to my collection were two bootleg CDs from the “24 Nights” concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. These were for the first and fourth nights, respectively. Both CDs had original artwork that incorporated Peter Blake’s drawings.
    ericclap-24nights-first-night-300x287ericclap-24nights-fouth-nights-300x294
    I also bought the 7″ single “Wonderful Tonight/Edge of Darkness” with its Peter Blake cover.
    ec-wonderfultonite_fr
    Then, finally, I splashed out on the magnificent “24 Nights Limited Edition–Music by Eric Clapton/Drawings by Peter Blake” box set published by Genesis Publications in 1991. I was lucky enough to find one of the promotional copies (Number XXV/200), signed by both Clapton and Blake. The box set contains two CDs “24 Nights” that include 3 previously unreleased tracks, purported not to be available anywhere else.
    Genesis-24 Nights-fr
    Well, that proved untrue as I found a “Collectors Edition” CDEP entitled “Wonderful Tonight” that included these three tracks among the six on this double CD.

    The cover of the Collectors Edition CD EP of
    The cover of the Collectors Edition CD EP of “Wonderful Tonight”.

    I June, I was walking along St Eriksgatan in my hometown, Stockholm, where there still are several record shops and secondhand record stores and as I passed The Beat Goes On I noticed a record with Peter Blake‘s 2015 portrait of Eric Clapton on the cover. It was the newly released “I Still Do” double album and I bought it on the spot.

    The front and rear covers of Clapton's 2016 album
    The front and rear covers of Clapton’s 2016 album “I Still Do”.

    Then I started to do some research and found that Eric Clapton‘s own site had sold limited editions of the album–a box set with the CD, a photo and a USB in the form of a radio valve with the album including two extra tracks and a film of an interview with Clapton and the album’s producer Glyn Johns. The box had sold out on Clapton‘s site, so I turned to Ebay and a search quickly turned up some affordable copies and I ordered one. Sweden’s postal service is not what it once was and I still hadn’t received the box after a month. I had been tracking the parcel and to my horror found that Postnord (the Swedish postal service) listed the parcel as “delivered”. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was desperate. After a further ten days or so I decided it was lost forever and ordered a second copy. A few days later, when the second copy was already on its way, the original parcel turned up! So now I have two copies, one still sealed.
    denim-box-frThen I saw that there was a further limited edition with just the USB in a box like radio valves were sold in. I found a cheap copy in Australia and after 4-5 weeks it duly arrived.
    i-still-do-usb-box2Then in August, one of the moderators on the Rate Your Music site tipped me off about a Blake cover that I had never heard of. It turned out to be the only classical music cover Peter Blake has so far designed. It was a recording of George Gershwin‘s “An American In Paris” coupled with “Rhapsody in Blue” and Ferde Grofé’s “Piano Concerto in F” played by Steuart Bedford and the English Chamber Orchestra.

    The cover art for Music For Pleasure's 1983 album of Gershwin's
    The cover art for Music For Pleasure’s 1983 album of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue/American in Paris” LP.

    In addition to the recordings, I have managed to find some rare memorabilia relating to Blake’s record covers. I found one of Sony Music’s Peter Blake dartboards given away as prizes for a competition in connection with Oasis‘ “Stop the Clocks” release. The dartboard figured on the cover of the LP and CD versions of “Stop the Clocks” and on the CDs themselves as well as on the covers of the limited edition double 7″ and CDEP also entitled “Stop the Clocks“.
    Promo Dartboard
    And I found a tour poster for The Who‘s 1981 Face Dances tour of the US in mint condition.
    face-dances-poster2
    I also got hold of copies of the programme sold at Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday concerts at Madison Square Garden and The Royal Albert Hall . These are LP sized with the same Peter Blake portrait of Clapton as on the “I Still Do” album cover. I fully expected that this portrait would be used on the cover of the triple LP set “Slowhand at 70” which was the official release of the Albert Hall Concerts.
    Slowhand_at_70But I hadn’t realised that Clapton was saving it for the “I Still Do” cover.
    In addition I bought two music-related books:
    a. Paul Weller‘s “Surburban 100“; a collection of Weller‘s song lyrics with cover designed by Weller‘s friend Peter Blake.
    pw-suburban-100-fr

    The copy I bought was even signed by Paul Weller–an added plus!
    b. I already had the first paperback edition of Roger McGough‘s “Summer With Monika” with Peter Blake‘s rather racy cover painting of a nude woman lying on her bed. Penguin Books decided that they couldn’t use that cover picture so they chose another rather more platonic Blake painting for their edition.
    monika-penguin
    My new copy is signed by both Peter Blake and Roger McGough.

  3.  Damien Hirst: As far as I am aware there has only been one new release with Damien Hirst‘s art so far this year–Jeff Wootton‘s brilliant solo album “The Way the Light“. For those who don’t know of Jeff Wootton he is a 29-year-old guitarist from Manchester who has an impressive CV. He has played with Damon Albarn (in Gorillaz, among other combinations), with Noel Gallagher in Gallagher’s post-Oasis band High Flying Birds.
    The Way the Light” was released in February 2016 as a digital download and as a 500 copy numbered, limited edition vinyl album which included a lavish booklet with 10 new spin paintings by Damien Hirst. Even the LP’s back cover had a spin painting.

    Jeff Wootton's 2016 album
    Jeff Wootton’s 2016 album “The Way the Light”
    Damien Hirst's spin painting on the rear cover of the
    Damien Hirst’s spin painting on the rear cover of the “The Way the Light” album (almost identical to that illustrating track 7 in the booklet.

    The limited edition sold out in just over six months.There were a number of promotional singles, tracks from the album. released either as downloads or on CD or CD-rom. I have managed to find three of these CD/CD-roms (there might  be a fourth, which I have to trace). These are “The Eternal” (a one-track CD-rom with no catalogue number), “Sonik Drips” (a one-track CD-single with catalogue number JWPROMO02) and “Reverie” (another one-track CD-single with catalogue number JWPROMO04) . Each has a Damien Hirst spin painting on its inlay.The “The Way the Light” album had a Japan-only release as a CD with an extra track (“The Eternal Reconstructed“).

    During the autumn I saw a copy of “The Way the Light” for sale on Ebay and snapped it up to find that it was unnumbered! I suppose it must be a promotional copy, but it didn’t have any indication, other than the lack of a number, that it was. So now I have both a numbered (No. 409) and an unnumbered copy.

    I have spent much of 2016 searching for the five singles produced by The Hours in 2006-7. I had four of these in my collection but they mysteriously vanished–I suspect when I sold the bulk of my record collection in 2013. They are limited editions with picture covers designed by Damien Hirst and Jason Beard and inner picture inner sleeves, too. The singles are “Ali in the Jungle/Nothing“, “Back When You Were Good/Back When You Were Good (remix)“, “Love You More/Mum and Dad“, “Ali in the Jungle/For a Moment” and “Big Black Hole/Killing Time”. I managed to collect then all again–but they cost quite a bit more this time around.
    AITJ-Yellow-fr copy BWWWG-fr copy Love You More-fr copy Black-Olive Ali-fr copy Big Black Hole-fr copy
    4. Klaus Voormann: I have a great many additions to my Klaus Voormann collection this year. 2016 saw the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ “Revolver” with its Klaus Voormann cover art. Apparently, Robert Whittaker had taken photos of the Fab Four for a cover, but John Lennon wanted something different and contacted Klaus, who was then living in London and playing with Manfred Mann. I already had my copy of revolver signed by Klaus but I bought his lovely book “Revolver 50: Birth of an Icon” from him and received a beautiful signed copy. I also found that he had written another book about his time with The Beatles called “Four Track Stories” and he sent be a signed copy of that too, with a signed postcard!
    The German music magazine Good Times devoted its August/September number this year to “Revolver” and there were five different covers; four of which each had a new portrait of a Beatle, drawn in Revolver style by Klaus Voormann, on the covers and the fifth had a composite of all four Beatles. The magazine has also produced t-shirts with Voormann‘s Beatle portraits, but I haven’t invested in those.
    good-times-fr2 good-times-fr3 good-times-fr4 good-times-fr5

  4. I discovered a really poor booklet published in America purporting to be a catalogue of Klaus Voormann‘s record covers. When it arrived I found out that it only included covers listed in Wikipedia. The only useful information I got out of it was the fact that Klaus had designed covers for two CD-singles by Wet, Wet, Wet that I had not heard about. They were easy to find–and cheap!
    TooManyPeople_V2

    CD 1 and CD 2 cover art for Wet Wet Wet's 2007 single
    CD 1 and CD 2 cover art for Wet Wet Wet’s 2007 single “Too Many People”

    Klaus also designed the covers for two CDs by his friend Volkwin Müller which Thorsten Knublauch told me about. The first called “Strawberry Songs” was by Volkwin & Co and released in 2012.

    Volkwin Müller's
    Volkwin Müller’s “Strawberry Songs” CD with Klaus Voormann’s portrait of John Lennon.

    The second was simple titled “Volkwin” and released earlier this year.

    The cover of Vokwin Müller's CD
    The cover of Vokwin Müller’s CD “Mit anderen Augen” with Klaus Voormann’s portrait of him.

    Klaus Voorman even had time in 2016 to design the cover for Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes‘ CD “Frettening Behaviour“.

    Cover art for Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes CD
    Cover art for Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes CD “Fretterning Behaviour”.

    Another unexpected find was the cover of Jimmy Smith‘s 1974 album “Black Smith“. I had no idea that Klaus Voormann had designed a cover for Jimmy Smith until i saw a copy advertised on Ebay with cover art credited to Klaus. I found a mint copy for a couple of dollars on Discogs.
    Black Smith-fr Black Smith-bk
    The last Voormann cover I bought this year was a signed copy of the single “Lu La Le Lu“– a Klaus Voormann song he recorded for Apple in the sixties but that was not released until now. The song was recorded and released by Wishful Thinking in 1972. This single issued for charity had a remixed version of Klaus Voormann‘s recording on the A side and Wishful Thinking‘s version on the B side.

  5. Andy Warhol: I managed to find fifteen covers with Warhol designs, only four of which were actually released in Andy‘s lifetime. These are Artie Shaw‘s EP “Both Feet in the Groove“, Aretha Franklin’s “Jimmie Lee” and “Rock-a-Lott” 12″ Maxi singles and a rare Debbie Harry 12″ picture disc version of “In Love With Love“.
    inlovewithlove_picI also found a copy of Sonic Youth‘s “Into the Groove(y)/Burnin’ Up” 12″ single released under the moniker Ciccione Youth. The cover is a play on Warhol‘s design for Madonna‘s Wedding photo, but the cover isn’t really a Warhol cover.
    ciccione-youth-frThere are a myriad of different re-issues of the magnificent “Velvet Underground & Nico” and I collected a couple of picture disc versions this year–one in a die-cut card cover, the other in a transparent plastic sleeve. Both apparently produced in Russia. The version in the die-cut cover is quite rare and the disc differs slightly from the version without the cover.

    Vinyl Lovers picture disc in die-cut card sleeve.
    Vinyl Lovers picture disc in die-cut card sleeve.

    VU-PictureDisc_frA group called Land of Sex & Glory released a 7″ single called “I Always Wanted to Be Andy Warhol’s Movie Star” in 1984 in a poster sleeve and I found a mint copy.
    land-of-sex-glory-spreadAnother 7″ single that I bought was The Weaklings‘ “It’s So Criminal/Real Cool Time” with cover photo by Richard Avedon of Warhol‘s scarred abdomen after he had been shot by Valerie Solanas.

    Richard Avedon's photograph of Andy Warhol's abdomen after he was shot in 1968 on the cover of The Weaklings' 1999 single.
    Richard Avedon’s photograph of Andy Warhol’s abdomen after he was shot in 1968 on the cover of The Weaklings’ 1999 single.

    There were some CDs with Warhol art that I picked up just for fun. Marilyn Monroe‘s “Happy Birthday Mr. President“, “Warholes or All Andy Would Enjoy (And Fear) / Warhol Memory Disorder” by unpronounceable Lengow & Heʸᵉrmeᵃʳs, Otomo Yoshihide & Sachiko M. that has a Warhol cow on the cover punctuated with bullet holes. The final CD with Warhol‘s art was “John Cage to David Byrne: Four Decades of Contemporary Music” a various artists compilation released in conjunction with the exhibition “Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collections“. The exhibition showed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 7th October 2001 to 6th January 2002. The inlay had pictures of works by several popular 20th Century American artists, including Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Sharon Lockhart, Stephan Balkenoi, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
    However, my greatest finds were made as the 2016 faded. At the beginning of December I found a near mint copy of Moondog‘s “Story of Moondog” on the Prestige label, a mint copy of Skyline‘s bootleg album with Warhol’s portrait of Susanna de Maria, and the turquoise variant of the 1949 “Alexander Nevsky” album with  Warhol‘s illustration. These haven’t yet arrived so I’ll have to post pictures in the new year.

  6. Miscellaneous: As I mentioned at the beginning of this post (but which you have probably forgotten by now) I have started collecting two further artists, Jeff Koons‘ record cover art and covers with Kate Moss‘s portrait.
    A. Jeff Koons: I have thus far only discovered three covers with Jeff Koons‘ art: Everyone know about Lady Gaga‘s “ARTPOP” album but the other two are less well-known. Tenor saxophonist Arthur Doyle‘s single-sided 12″ “Live at the Alterknit” released in 2008 and the “John Cage to David Byrne: Four Decades of Contemporary Music” CD that I mentioned in the section on Andy Warhol.
    B. Kate Moss covers: I already had both versions of Dirty Funker‘s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12″ with their Banksy portraits of Kate on front and rear covers, Damien Hirst‘s “Use Money, Cheat Death” single-sided, white vinyl 12″ and a compilation promotional CD for handbag manufacturers Longchamp that was compiled by Kate and called “Kate Moss for Longchamp – An Iconic Selection by Kate Moss”. This year’s additions to the Kate Moss collection include The Unholy Two‘s “Kutter/Porkys” 7″ single that uses what looks like photocopies of Chuck Close‘s 2005 portraits of a nude Kate Moss.

    The outer spread of The Unholy Two's
    The outer spread of The Unholy Two’s “Kutter/Porkys” single.
    The inner spread of The Unholy Two's
    The inner spread of The Unholy Two’s “Kutter/Porkys” single.

    I also found a dealer in California who was offloading three of Bryan Ferry‘s limited edition singles from his 2010 album “Olympia“. The Vinyl Factory in London had produced these beautiful six 12″ in strictly limited editions of 200 or 300 copies and they sold out almost immediately.
    alphaville-fr bf-base-fr shamelesss-fr
    Having got these, I found a copy of of the Vinyl Factory limited edition “Olympia” album with its art portrait of Kate enclosed. So that was added to my collection.

    olympia
    There is also a digital download with all the remixes of the tracks on the Vinyl Factory remix singles, with a playing time of about 4 hours called “Olympia Remixes
    r-4336772-1362134373-3791-jpeg
    I also found a Dutch promotional CD of “Heartache by Numbers” which I also added to my collection.
    heartache-fr
    As far as I can tell there are fifteen covers with Kate Moss‘s portrait and I now have ten of them. Those outstanding are the  two remaining Bryan Ferry 12″ Vinyl Factory singles, “You Can Dance” and “Alphaville“, Babyshambles‘ album “Shotter’s Nation“, Primal Scream and Kate MossSome Velvet Morning” and possibly 6majik9‘s “Kate Moss” CDS.

Alex Steinweiss – The Inventor of the Illustrated Record Cover.

I have been collecting record cover art since the 1980s. First designers including Vaughan Oliver and his collaborations with Nigel Grierson as 23 Envelope and, later, as V23 with Chris Bigg.  Neville Brody ,with his covers (mainly) for the Fetish label, was another designer I collected. Then, when I moved to Sweden, I started collecting covers by Martin Kann, who is responsible for the cover art for Swedish rockers bob hund. Most of the record covers I had by these designers disappeared when I had to sell my record collection and I had to decide which designers’ covers to keep.

I thought I knew the history of record cover design, but to my eternal shame, I only found out that one individual, Alex Steinweiss (1917-2011), had started the whole field of record cover design in about 2005 when I read Nick de Ville‘s great book on record cover design “Album-Style & Image in Sleeve Design” from 2003.But I HAD for years seen some of Steinweiss‘s work at my parents’ home! They had a condo i Sarasota, Florida, for many years. Sarasota was Steinweiss‘s retirement home and he produced posters for the celebrated Sarasota Jazz Festival and my father had bought three of these posters, which hung on a bedroom wall at home, but I had no idea Steinweiss had designed record covers! Once I had seen de Ville‘s book, I started looking for some Steinweiss covers. They were not easy to find as few Internet sellers recognised Steinweiss‘s work and sold records only by their artist/title. Then, in 2006, I bought Jennifer McKnight-Trontz’s “For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover“. A great place to start researching Steinweiss‘s production of over 2500 record covers.

lifeworks-of-as
Jennifer McKnight-Trontz’s “For the Record-The Life and Works of Alex Steinweiss

Steinweiss may not have been the first to illustrate record covers–here the purists argue–but he was the first to convince a record company that pictures on covers could actually sell records. In 1939, at the tender age of 22, he was hired by Columbia Records as art director for the company’s recorded music division, principally to be responsible for advertising material.

Few dedicated record shops existed in the 1930’s. Music was mainly sold as sheet music and records were usually sold in general stores, electrical appliance stores and i a few record shops. Records were only available as 78 r.p.m shellac discs, ten or twelve inches in diameter. Single discs were generally packaged in brown envelopes with or without a central hole that showed the record label with the title and artist on the record. Longer works, such as classical recordings had to be split onto several discs and were packaged in book-like albums that contained any number of records from two to ten. The front covers were generally plain perhaps with record company, the record’s catalogue number and the record title. They were affectionately known as “tombstone covers”!

tombstone-cover
A “Tombstone cover” as albums were sold prior to Steinweiss deciding to add pictures to covers.

The album’s spine showed the title and artist and the record’s catalogue number. These albums were generally stored like books in a library, with only the spines visible.

Steinweiss, during his artistic studies,  had seen the power of pictures in selling and suggested to his superiors that adding a picture to illustrate the music might actually increase sales of these albums. Despite initial scepsis the directors allowed Steinweiss to produce a limited number of pictorial covers and the first “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart” appeared in 1940 (Jennifer McKnight-Trontz says 1939).

steinweiss-smash-hits
Alex Steinweiss’s first picture cover for Columbia Records “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart” from 1940.

I collected about fifty Steinweiss covers and was lucky enough to find a copy of the “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart” in really good condition early on. This album seems extremely rare as I have been on a fruitless search for a second copy ever since. It seems important for anyone particularly interested in record sleeve design to have this seminal design, so I kept it when my other Steinweiss covers vanished.

Of course, Steinweiss‘s new picture covers increased the sales of Columbia Records’ Albums and he was allowed to continue producing sleeve art. When, in 1948, Columbia introduced the microgroove LP, it fell to Steinweiss to design a suitable packaging and he came up with the LP record sleeve with a design on the front, text on the rear and on the spine. Many of the designs he produced for the 78 r.p.m albums were transferred when a work was reissued in the new format. But Steinweiss‘s burden of designing new covers meant that he couldn’t do them all himself. He enlisted other talented designers to work for Columbia, including Jim Flora and a commercial artist named Andrew Warhola, just arrived in New York from Pittsburgh.

steinweiss-photo4
Steinweiss (in dark suit) with other Columbia employees including Jim Flora (With the striped tie standing behind Steinweiss).

Steinweiss left Columbia in 1949 and went freelance. He subsequently designed covers for several other record companies including Everest, Decca and London and RCA.

in 2009, Kevin Reagan and Steven Heller convinced Taschen to publish a luxurious book simply entitled “Steinweiss”  with the subtitle “The Inventor of the Modern Record Cover“. I addition to a standard edition Taschen produced an art edition; one hundred copies numbered 1-100 contained a print of Steinweiss‘s design for Decca Records’ recording of Igor Stravinsky‘s “The Firebird“, the second time Steinweiss had designed a cover for that work.

steinweiss-taschen-print_fr
The lithograph of Steinweiss’s design for Decca Records’ recording of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite”.

There were also a further one hundred art copies, numbered 101-200, that did not contain the print. Steinweiss, aged 92, was involved in the production of the book and the art editions were all signed by him as were the prints included in the first one hundred copies. My copy is No. 96.

The book contains full-sized pictures of over two hundred of Steinweiss‘s cover designs as well as pictures of posters and books and ceramics that he made. A worthy tribute to the man without whom I probably wouldn’t be collecting record cover art.

 

A New Klaus Voormann Record Cover – And An Old One I Didn’t Know Existed

The Internet is a fantastic research tool for collectors. One doesn’t have to buy anything but it provides a wealth of databases from which to search. Researching record covers has been made so much easier thanks to record databases such as Discogs, Musicstack and others. Even Ebay and Etsy are great databases to use in searches.

I researched my post on Kate Moss on record covers entirely via the Internet. I owned three covers with Kate Moss’s portrait and bought a fourth as I found it available despite apparently being very rare. I have even researched Roy Lichtenstein‘s art on record sleeves via Ebay and Discogs without buying a single cover.

So, despite a smug feeling that I already had ALL his record covers, I was doing my usual weekly search for Klaus Voormann’s record cover art a couple of weeks ago when a new cover appeared. A record by a group which went by the (not so lyrical) name of Paddy, Klaus & Gibson.

Paddy, Klaus & Gibson's 10
Paddy, Klaus & Gibson’s 10″ EP.

A copy was for sale on http://www.ebay.de and I jumped at the chance. It turned out that the seller was famous German Thorsten Knublauch, collector of Beatles material from their Hamburg days and author of books on the Fab Four. He told me that fellow Beatles expert Dieter Hoffmann had produced this compilation album to document an early phase in Klaus Voormann‘s musical career.

The following information comes from a blog post by Thorsten Knublauch reviewing the album (see: http://wogew.blogspot.de/2015/02/paddy-klaus-gibson.html). Klaus Voormann had bought ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe‘s Höfner bass when he left the band and hopped into a band together with Paddy Chambers (guitar) and John Frankland (vocals, guitar) and Gibson Kemp (drums) called The Eyes. The Eyes released two singles and Klaus Voormann drew a band portrait on their “She / Peanut Butter” single cover. Paddy Chambers had previously been a member of legendary Liverpool band The Big Three, Gibson Kemp (who later married Astrid Kirchherr) has been drummer for The Hurricanes and John Frankland who had been a member of Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes.

The Eyes
The Eyes “She / Peanut Butter” single cover drawn by Klaus Voormann.

And, yes, it’s the same drawing on the cover of the “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album, but with John Frankland (he in the cap peering over Gibson’s head) removed as he had left the band. Klaus Voormann had approved the revised cover design.

The “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album was produced by Dieter Hoffmann to collect the six tracks released by the trio in 1965-1966. He produced 300 copies – 100 copies each on black, clear and read vinyl. After contacting Dieter – a fellow medical doctor – I also bought the black and red vinyl versions to complete the collection.

So, once again I started to congratulate myself on “completing” my collection of Klaus Voorman record cover art when Thorsten Knublauch mentioned an early jazz album that Klaus had done a cover drawing for, much in the same style as his series for the “Pioneers of Jazz” series on the Coral Record label. The record, a radio broadcast recording, has the impossible title “Wer noch nie im Bett Radio gemacht hat“, which he translated as “Who never ever did radio in bed“. He even had a picture of the cover – a patient in a hosital bed hooked up to drop bottles.

The cover of Klaus Voormann's early Jazz LP
The cover of Klaus Voormann’s early Jazz LP “Wer noch nie im Bett Radio gemacht hat”.

Well, I really have to do some serious research to find a copy of this, not only because it’s a Klaus Voormann cover, but because I really love the medical subject! So, dear readers, please excuse me if I do not post any further posts for the foreseeable future – I’ll be out looking for this album.